Osama Bin Laden Death Reignites Battle Over Waterboarding, 'Enhanced Interrogation'


Bush Administration Claims 'Vindication'

"We are also grateful to the men and women of America's intelligence services, who through their interrogation of high-value detainees, developed the information that apparently led us to bin Laden," she said in a statement on the group's website.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who has been a fierce critic of the enhanced interrogation techniques said, "I don't have any basis to believe that ... any leads here were produced by illegal activities on our part. I have no basis to know that. And my views about the fact that torture produces misinformation, not good information, are pretty well known."

Intelligence Committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., agreed with Levin, saying today, "To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices."

John Yoo, the former Bush Justice Department official who authored legal memos authorizing the use of the controversial interrogation techniques, released Monday night a statement praising the Obama administration for its successful operation.

But Yoo went on to say that the capture was a "vindication" of the Bush administration's terrorism policies.

Yoo pointed to "anonymous government sources" quoted in the media linking the interrogation of al Qaeda leaders to the identification the courier.

He praised the Bush administration.

"Imagine what would have happened if the Obama administration had been running things back in 2002-08," he said. "It would have given Miranda warnings and lawyers to KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and other al Qaeda leaders, no Gitmo, no military commissions; instead civilian trials on U.S. soil with all of the Bill of Rights benefits for terrorist defendants.

"There would have been no enhanced interrogation program, no terrorist surveillance program, and hence no intelligence mosaic that could have given us the information that produced today's success. In the war on terror, it is much easier to pull the trigger -- the truly hard task is to figure out where to aim. Obama can take credit, rightfully, for the success today, but he owes it to the tough decisions taken by the Bush administration."

But Andrea Prasow of Human Rights Watch said, "Yes, imagine if the United States had complied with the rule of law from the very beginning. We might have obtained the information years earlier.

"One of the problems with using the harsh techniques," she said, "is we can't tell what's true and false, people spend millions of dollars tracking down false leads.

"There are serious costs to the U.S. interrogators, some of whom have spoken out about the mental damage they have suffered from participating in coercive interrogations, and the damage to U.S. national security that ensued because both Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have been used as recruiting tools to terrorists. These costs are incredibly serious."

At a news briefing today, Obama spokesperson Jay Carney revealed few details on the information gathered from interrogations. "The fact is that no single piece of information led to the successful mission that occurred on Sunday and multiple detainees provided insights into the networks of people that might have been close to bin laden," he said.

ABC News' Jason Ryan and Matthew Jaffe contributed to this report.

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